Gadgets for humans

Head-on with Samsung’s Gear VR headset for the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

Samsung unveiled an updated version of its Gear VR headset for the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. I tested out the updated device to see what’s new.

As with the original, you insert your phone into the device so it can use its screen, CPU and GPU. While the Galaxy S6 has a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution like the Galaxy Note 4, its screen is a lot smaller, meaning the pixels are more tightly packed.

The difference is slight if you were to compare the two phones side by side, but once the S6 is inside the Gear VR, the difference in viewing quality is glaringly obvious. Images appear crisper and sharper.

HeroBound: First Steps by Oculus

A big change with the new Galaxy VR is the ability to adjust the focus, which makes it a lot easier to tailor viewing to suit your vision. I usually wear glasses and they wouldn’t fit under the headset, but I was able to set the dial on the top to its shortest setting so I didn’t have to strain my eyes.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 17.13.32

The update has a sleeker design than the previous version and Samsung says it’s 15 percent lighter. A noticeable design change from the original is that your phone is now visible while inserted in the headset.

Aesthetically the Gear VR still resembles a head brace of sorts, with straps and parts that go around the sides and over the top of your head. It’s a bit of a production job to get it on and fitted in place.

While the original Gear VR had a tendency to overheat, the new edition remained relatively cool despite having been used for demos before me.

The updated device uses the same magnifying lenses as its predecessor, allowing small images that only take up a section of your phone’s screen to expand to fill your entire view.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 19.39.51

The quality and smoothness of its imagery is the Gear VR’s main advantage over competitors in my opinion. The smaller screen results in smooth images. When you move your head, the motion feels seamless and immersive.

All in all, the new headset seems well on its way to being the most consumer-friendly option on the market, and with the new Oculus powered app store, it feels like Samsung is really pushing to make virtual reality a viable consumer option.

The company hasn’t confirmed a release date or price for the new version. However, the original Gear VR retails for around $200 and the new version is expected to be similarly priced.

Read nextSamsung Announces Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

Photo credit: Oculus VR

For more gear, gadget, and hardware news and reviews, follow Plugged on Twitter and Flipboard.

Published March 3, 2015 — 19:33 UTC

Corona coverage

Read our daily coverage on how the tech industry is responding to the coronavirus and subscribe to our weekly newsletter Coronavirus in Context.

For tips and tricks on working remotely, check out our Growth Quarters articles here or follow us on Twitter.